When Soft Fits the Bill


Even though I have at least 3 different types of squash in the house, 80P continually boycotts the winter vegetable. He’s also boycotting the grocery store (sheer laziness, not for any locavore type reasoning), which really only leaves me with a few options for dinner. And it’s mostly from my adventures at the Asian supermarket. And squash.

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Tofu Tom Yom Noodle Soup

I definitely threw this together on the fly.  I was trying to figure out how to maximize my Asian market ingredients, while also not using up my squash supply.  I wasn’t sure how this was going to play out, but as soon as I told 80 that I would add in some noodles, he was pretty sold.  Sans meat.  

Roast one sweet potato until 90% cooked.  While the potato is roasting, saute half of a large onion (add salt and pepper) and when translucent, add in 2 spoonfuls of tom yom paste.  Stir around, grate in ginger and lemongrass*

*I sliced the lemon grass as I would a scallion and that was NOT the correct move.  I should have kept it as longer sections so it would have been easier to fish out later.

And add 2 cups of water**

**I’ve decided I will avoid using store-bought chicken stock as much as I can.  I find that I usually have enough fresh ingredients that I can sufficiently flavor the water. Plus, I try to obey Mark Bittman.

Bring to a boil and then let it simmer.  Simmer for a while.

So this is kinda embarrassing, but I never cooked with tofu before.  I bought boxes of both soft and extra firm.  I thought the soft would break up nicely in the soup.  And it did.  I have seen a lot of hatred of soft tofu, but I think it has its uses. And I hate the idea of using soy products to mock real food.  Which is one reason I would never be a vegan.  I mean, let tofu be tofu, not a fake substitute for chicken or whatever.  Anyway, I slid the tofu into the soup, and brought to a boil again.

While that was heating up, slice the mostly cooked potatoes (I like half moons) and add them to the hot water, plus torn spinach leaves.  Then add in vermicelli noodles. And those thin suckers only take like 30 seconds.  Taste to see if it needs more spice (tom yom paste) or other flavorings (ginger, salt, pepper) and then spoon into bowls.  Use those fun, flat Asian-style spoons.  Sure, if you go to a boutique kitchen store (which of course I LOVE) they’ll be pretty expensive. But I bought my spoons at the Asian market: 49 cents for ceramic, 39 cents for metal.  A-mazing!

Oh, wait, and try to remove as much of the lemongrass as possible before serving.  And I used this recipe for guidance.

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  • Jennifer January 28, 2009  

    Where’s this famous Asian market? I may have to explore…

  • Oxen Cox January 28, 2009  

    I love vermicelli noodles. I think those asian spoons are a bitch to slurp noodles out of though. I’d rather use a smaller bowl and dump it into my mouth. I’m also kind of an oinks.

  • 80 Proof January 28, 2009  

    Funny, I just got back from the grocery store in the freezing rain. Didn’t but any winter squash, though. 😉

  • maids January 28, 2009  

    this looks delicious…. I miss my kitchen so much it hurts

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